Diffuse idiopathic bone hypertrophy (DISH) is a type of arthritis that mainly affects the spine.
DISH disease is characterized by the growth of bones that grow along the spine or other affected bones. These growths, called bone spurs, are usually visible on X-rays.
Some people with DISH disease do not have any symptoms at all, and do not know they have the disease until they see bone spurs on X-rays. Others experience pain, stiffness, and other symptoms similar to arthritis.
Although there is currently no cure for DISH disease, there are some treatments that can help control your pain and control the progression of the disease. In this article, we will introduce what DISH disease is, its etiology, treatment methods, etc.
DISH disease is a form of arthritis. It is sometimes called Forestier’s disease.
Unlike the inflammation that is common in most types of arthritis, DISH disease can cause your tendons and ligaments to harden. This hardening is called calcification. It causes abnormal bone growth called bone spurs.
Calcification and bone spurs can cause pain and stiffness in the affected area. The most commonly affected area is the spine, but DISH disease may occur all over your body.
When calcium salts accumulate in your body, your ligaments and tendons will become calcified. It is not clear what caused this accumulation. It may involve a combination of genetic, environmental and metabolic factors, but more research is needed.
Studies have shown that there are a number of factors that increase your risk of DISH disease, including:
- Over 50 years old
- Assigned as a male at birth
- Have type 2 diabetes
- Use retinoic acid for many years
- Taking medicines containing vitamin A for many years
- Get plenty of dietary vitamin A from your diet
DISH disease does not always cause symptoms. Some people don’t know they have DISH until a health care professional finds abnormal bone formation on an unrelated X-ray. When signs and symptoms appear, they are most likely to appear on your upper back. These symptoms may include:
Although DISH disease may cause mild symptoms (or no symptoms at all), severe symptoms may also occur in rare cases. In addition, unmanaged DISH disease can progress over time and cause new symptoms. This can cause more serious or unusual symptoms. They can include:
Over time, untreated DISH disease may develop into significant symptoms and problems. For example, nerve compression can cause severe pain and loss of function in the affected limb. Compression of the spinal cord can cause partial or complete paralysis of the arm or leg.
If you start to notice any of the symptoms listed above, please consult a healthcare professional.
The main test to diagnose DISH disease is X-ray. Bone growth caused by DISH is usually visible on X-rays and confirms this diagnosis. In fact, because many people with DISH have no symptoms at first, X-rays are usually the only test used.
Sometimes your doctor may request additional imaging tests to carefully observe the growth and rule out similar conditions, especially if you feel pain. This may include CT scan or MRI. These tests can show any inflammation, degeneration, fractures, and other possible sources of pain.
Although there is no cure for DISH disease, treatment can control your symptoms and stop the disease from progressing. The treatment plan that is right for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the progression of DISH disease. Some treatment options include:
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help reduce stiffness and increase your mobility.
- painkiller. Your doctor may prescribe drugs for you to help control your pain. Common options include painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants.
- Corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids can help control severe pain.
- Surgery. If bone growth compresses your nerves or airway, surgery may be required.
You can also take steps to manage your DISH illness at home. For example, a hot compress or a hot bath is a good way to relieve stiffness and pain.
Weight control and diet can also help reduce symptoms. Maintaining a moderate weight can reduce joint pressure and relieve pain.
You can also ask your doctor about other ways to relieve symptoms at home. They can provide tips on your symptoms and health conditions.
DISH disease is a chronic disease, but treatment can effectively help people lead a full and healthy life. Many people with DISH disease can continue their work, hobbies and lifestyle with little change.
It is important to note that without any treatment, DISH disease will worsen over time. Bone growth in this situation can cause compression of the spinal cord. If left untreated, the compressed spinal cord can lead to complete paralysis.
Even if you have no symptoms yet, talking to your doctor will help you understand what will happen. They can also help develop a treatment plan that is right for you.